Statement of Support for the Bulgarian Fund for Women 

On the Occasion of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

On November 25th, we commemorate the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women and observe the accompanying 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).  The United States is committed to promoting gender equality and advancing the status of women and girls around the world. Gender equality is a key U.S. foreign policy priority necessary for social, political and economic development.

GBV has a direct negative impact on women’s economic empowerment.  From domestic violence or intimate partner violence to street harassment, and from early and forced marriage to sexual harassment in the workplace, experiencing gender-based violence can prevent women from fully participating in the economy and limits their ability to reach their full potential and contribute to their families and communities.

GBV is a global challenge in both public and private spaces.  Promoting a safe enabling environment for women, at home, at school and at work, is a human rights imperative that could help close the gender gap in labor markets.  Closing the gender labor gap could increase worldwide GDP by as much as $28 trillion by 2025.

Preventing and responding to violence against women and girls requires all of us – governments, citizens, the private sector, and civil society – to take action, raise awareness of GBV, advocate for reason and simple humanity, and eventually break the cycle of violence.  I commend the efforts of the Bulgarian Fund for Women to improve the legal, political, administrative, and cultural environment and protect women from GBV.

Eric Rubin, U.S. Ambassador